The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Old Deserted House
by C.A. Verstraete
“The Granger house is haunted, you know.”
I stared at my best friend, Lee, and wondered where she got her information.
“I never heard that. Says who?”
She shook her head. “Gina, where’ve you been? Everyone knows that.”
“Huh, well I didn’t. So how haunted are we talking? Ghosts? Goblins? Eerie screams?”
“Any, all of them. It changes, I’ve heard. You have to go there yourself and find out.”
“So, have you gone?”
She gave a sheepish grin. “Um, well, no. I didn’t want to go alone.”
“You’re chicken, but you think I should go.”
“No, I want us to go together. The rest of the group are going soon. We can go next weekend.”
“Lee, you’re taking it for granted, aren’t you?”
“Oh, c’mon, Gina. I know you. This kind of stuff is your thing. What do you say?”
What I said was goodbye, until next weekend, that is.
On Friday I found myself standing in front of this old abandoned stone house, flashlight in hand, wondering if I should’ve said no. Lee smiled and jerked her head at the opening in the rotted door.
I gulped. “It’s your idea. You go first.”
We slipped in through the opening, finding ourselves in a cobweb-filled front hall with sheet-covered furnishings. The flashlight shone dimly through the heavy webbing, making it hard to see every corner of the room.
Lee shuffled forward, pushing the webs aside, motioning me to follow. “Some of the kids said there are a bunch of dolls and toys in one of the bedrooms. It’s pretty creepy.”
“And of course, you want to see them,” I muttered. “Lead on.”
We went down the hall, our footsteps muffled by layers of dust. The door to the first room stood open, our lights shining over shelves filled with old books.
We moved on. At least nothing had leapt out at us… yet. Still, I tried not to stay too far back from my friend.
The door to the next room opened with a squeak.
“This is it, the toy room,” she said.
I followed her in and shone the flashlight around, my fears easing. After all, who didn’t like toys? Piles of blocks covered a table. Boxes of games filled shelf after shelf.
“Wow, this stuff is really old,” I said, looking over the box covers. “I never heard of some of these games.”
“Me, neither. Oh, look! There’s a bunch of stuffed animals and dolls over here.” She went to the other side of the room. “These look like Steiff bears. I bet they’re worth a lot of money.” She gazed at me before turning back to the shelf. “We should take a couple. I bet we could sell them.”
She took one down and blew the dust off the fur.
I tried to hold back my sneeze and failed. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Who’ll miss them?”
A scratching sound drew my attention. “Hey, what’s—”
“C’mon,” she said. “Take one and let’s go.”
The scratching grew louder.
“Lee… what’s that sound?”
She ignored me and reached for one of the other dusty bears. “This one’s mine.”
We both jumped when something hit the floor behind us.
“What was that?” Lee asked, turning her flashlight toward the door. “Shine your light over there.”
I hesitated when something scraped the floor again.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” she said. “One of the games fell off the shelf. Ready?”
I hesitated, wondering how something could fall off the shelf by itself. Then another box hit the floor with a thump. Wood game pieces scattered across the wood floor like old coins.
I jumped when Lee began to scream. “Noooooo!”
The flashlight shook in my hand as I flicked the light to where my friend pointed in horror.
I followed her wide-eyed gaze and studied the rows of dolls and bears. My uneasiness grew as I felt each of them staring back at me.
Then I got to the two figures at the end of the row. The clothing looked familiar… jeans, a red shirt, a blue jacket.
The light flickered in my hand as I backed away in horror, trying to make sense of the sight before me. Our two friends stared at us from dead, bloodied eyes, the sinister grins on their faces revealing long, rotted teeth.
“No… this can’t be real, no.” I shuffled back, ignoring Lee’s whimpers.
The room suddenly went totally black as first her flashlight, then mine, went out. I shook the light and stumbled about in terror. Where was the door? Where was it?
I reached out my hand. “Lee, hurry, give me your hand! C’mon, we can get to the door… Hurry! Lee?”
My screams filled the room when the cold, dead fingers touched mine.
Fiction © Copyright C.A. Verstraete
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author C.A. Verstraete:
The Haunting of Dr. Bowen:
A Mystery in Lizzie Borden’s Fall River
Gruesome deaths haunt the industrial city of Fall River, Massachusetts.
Dr. Seabury Bowen—physician to the infamous Lizzie Borden—swears he’s being stalked by spirits, though his beloved wife thinks it’s merely his imagination. But the retired doctor insists that neither greed nor anger provoked the recent sensational axe murders in Fall River. Rather, he believes the city is poisoned by bad blood and a thirst for revenge dating back to the Indian and Colonial wars.
Now, two years after the Borden murders, Dr. Bowen is determined to uncover the mysteries stirring up the city’s ancient, bloodthirsty specters. Can he discover who, or what, is shattering the peace before Fall River runs red? Or will he be the next victim?
Part mystery, part love story, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen reveals the eerie side of Fall River as witnessed by the first doctor on the scene of the legendary Borden murders.
A supernatural tie-in to the book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, but without the zombies. Based on real-life events and historic documents, though some parts have been fictionalized to fit the story. * Contains some light horror details.